Churches' parade to stress 'oneness'

September 12, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

A parade of churches will make its way up Westminster's Main Street on Sunday.

"We will walk down the road together in oneness," said the Rev. Mark N. Wadel, president of the Westminster Ministerium and organizer of its 75th anniversary celebration.

"No matter where we come into the spectrum of worship, we are serving one God," said Mr. Wadel, who is pastor of Lighthouse Ministries.

The congregations of about 30 churches are joining the event as the cooperative Christian ministry celebrates with a march, Scripture service and songs of praise. Mr. Wadel is encouraging all faiths to participate.

"Put your identity out there, and show off what is best about you," he said. "Why shouldn't churches blow their own horns once in a while?"

Dressed in the high hat once worn by Mennonite ministers and carrying an antique Bible, Mr. Wadel will lead the parade in a restored 1860 carriage.

The Fellowship of Christian Farmers and other charitable organizations also will join the walk, which begins at 2 p.m. along Longwell Avenue and ends at Baker Chapel at Western Maryland College.

"Churches and groups of all different backgrounds are involved," Mr. Wadel said. "We all have one goal: to promote unity."

Spread among the floats, marchers will carry banners with Bible verses from Ephesians 4:

"One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

"One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all and in you all."

Mr. Wadel said the ministerium traces its scriptural roots -- "endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" -- to those verses.

"Our forefathers centered their working together around those words," Mr. Wadel said.

The banners will then hang on Baker Chapel's walls as the marchers gather for a 4 p.m. service. A choir of about 150 voices, from several congregations, will sing "Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven."

A verse from the anthem: "We build on the rock, our faith in Jesus Christ," summarizes the day's theme, said the Rev. John Smaligo, who will direct the choir, with accompaniment from his wife, Mary.

"It is wonderful to be able to celebrate our common calling," said Mr. Smaligo, pastor of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Hampstead.

Today, the ministerium, established Sept. 18, 1919, includes several denominations, which support Shepherd's Staff for those crisis and a pastoral care ministry at Carroll County General Hospital.

Mr. Wadel hopes the anniversary brings "greater awareness of church life" to the community.

"Church life is what gives balance and strength to the community," he said.

The ministerium "tries to break down barriers and collectively work together," Mr. Wadel said.

ASeveral churches have contributed artifacts for an exhibit from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., and for an hour after the concert, at the Westminster Fire Hall, 66 E. Main St.

"The displays will center around what the different churches do," Mr. Wadel said.

Visitors to the display can also expect to see antique Bibles and altar ornaments and vessels. Mr. Wadel said he hopes the celebration will draw descendants of the ministerium's founding members.

The parade, which will march rain or shine, coincides with the annual Maryland Wine Festival, which traditionally draws crowds nearly 20,000.

"We didn't pick our date," Mr. Wadel said. "[The ministerium] did that in 1919."

& Information: 848-1010.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.